Here are some facts about Hindus:
- The word "Hindu" comes from the name of the river Indus, which flows 1800 miles from Tibet through Kashmir and Pakistan to the sea.
- Hindus accept and respect all the religions in the world.
- Every individual Hindu may have different believes / practices.
- Every Hindu has an option to choose his / her religious teacher.
- For many Hindus, religion is a matter of practice rather than of beliefs.
- Hindus believe in a universal soul or God called Brahman.
- Brahman takes on many forms that some Hindus worship as gods or goddesses in their own right.
- Hindus believe that there is a part of Brahman in everyone and this is called the Atman.
- Hindus believe in reincarnation.
- Hindus believe that the soul passes through a cycle of successive lives and its next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived.
- Hindus believe that existence of this cycle is governed by Karma.
- Hindus consider 'Aum' to be the main symbol of Hinduism.
- Hindus consider River Ganges as one of the holy rivers.
- Hindus believe in the three basic practices. (see below)
- Hindus consider pilgrimage as an important aspect of life.
- The spiritual goal of a Hindu is to become one with Brahma.
There are three basic practices:
- Worship: This is an integral part of the faith. Offerings (puja) are usually made to representations of the gods.
- Cremation: The dead are burnt not buried (however, in some sects of Hinduism people bury the dead)
- Compliance with the rules of the caste system: The caste
system, prescribed in the vedas, was 'a division of society to
preserve society' similar to the society in ancient Egyptian times.
Each group had rules of conduct to be obeyed.
The caste system divided people by occupation i.e. teachers and philosophers were brahmins; fighters were kshatriya; shopkeepers, moneylenders and tradespeople were vaishya; and servants and cleaners were shudra.
No caste was higher or more important (superior) to another. All were equal and acknowledged as essential to the society.